2010 Three-day Meditation Retreat

Maggie Milne

I thought the retreat was so fun! I had never been to a meditation retreat before so I didn’t really know what to expect and I wondered if I could go for 2 days without talking and just meditate a lot, but it was actually fine. Not talking actually made me feel calmer. Forty minutes of meditation was a good amount of time because after one hour I get a lot of pins and needles. I also liked to do walking meditation after each session because I quite like to move around after sitting down. During the retreat, I ate much less than usual and didn’t even feel hungry during meals. The first session after the main meal was the one where I felt a bit sleepy.

The Abbess’s talks were also great. I like it how she spoke Chinese, then English because I could listen to the English and then think about what she had said during the Chinese, or I could listen to both and learn some new Chinese words. My time at the retreat was very calm and peaceful. I really enjoyed it and it was organized perfectly! I gained a lot from this retreat and I will work harder to become the master of my mind!
Thank you everyone for an excellent retreat and if there’s another, I will definitely join again!

Michelle Tang

Throughout the retreat, I did my best to control my mind from wandering, and let go of the thoughts that arise. Taming one’s monkey mind is not easy at all. I also used the Seven Round Compassion Contemplation method which was effective in stopping my monkey mind.

Overall, the three-day meditation retreat felt like a cleansing of my mind. It was an event that I would not mind experiencing again. I believe I accomplished a lot in understanding my mind. The saying goes “Old habits die hard”, I still like to converse with people although now, I am more mindful of what I say.

Big thank you again to all Shifu’s for conducting such a meaningful retreat.

Angelina Chung (Sutra Study Class / Tai Chi Teacher)

For me, the three-day retreat was just what I needed to round off a very busy year. It was time out for myself. I find the retreat valuable in helping me to still my mind and to stay focused. As each day passed, the time of silence in my mind increased and so was the depth of my awareness. During the meditation, I also experienced the sudden increased of body temperature on occasions which gave a rather uneasy feeling at the time. However, when it came, I acknowledged and it went. The awareness of this phenomenon was probably brought about by a relaxed mind and body. I realized meditation practice and Dharma teachings are great tools for continuing self-cultivation. I have enjoyed the 3 days of peace, calm and serene bliss.

2010 Children Camp

Reflections by the attending children

Today I learnt a song. My favourite game was the one where we needed to free the princess. I liked that game because it was fun and my group won!

Steven Le
I thought today was fun, we got to play games, learnt to be kind and to not always be angry

Zhan Hui
The meditation was good. All the games were fun and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the games that we played. Thank you to all the Shi fu’s, coordinators and helpers.

I liked the group game because I won! And because it was fun. I learnt that when you do something mean there will still be a consequence.

Chris Daley
I learned how to play different games, learned to say the Respect slogan. Everybody was great to work with. At the end of each game, I felt happy and energized. The Sifu taught me a lot of things. My group had lots of cooperation skill, I’m now respectful. Thank you… Sifu the camp is very fun.

(Happy) Vyanne
I’ve learnt how to be kind to other people and to work with groups

Cedric Fun
Respect, I have learnt not to fight when I’m angry.

Wen Jun Lim
Today I learnt how to meditate properly, you sit in the proper posture and concentrate on your breathing.

Today I learnt how to stop my anger. I felt good about the food and games. I like the songs very much. I had a lot of fun and I promise I will be good for life.

Yong Ya
Even though we don’t have many people in our group, I think we will win if we all try our best. I learnt that we have to respect all people, be kind to all, try to make other people to live in harmony and to be true. We also played a lot of games. We also did meditation. The important thing was that I had fun.

I liked playing the games. I enjoyed the games very much. It was a bit hard to play the game – Rescue the hostage. My group was Respect.

I have learnt to be nice to everyone.

Simon Daley
My favourite game was the one where you had to rescue the princess. I learnt how to control my anger (with the drawing of the nail and a wooden board ).

Yong Yu
I leant a song of harmony. I liked playing the games.

I think today was very fun because the games and the stories were very interesting. I have learnt quite a lot today, because of the way they taught us, like listening to stories, playing games. The story had a very important moral and games inspired us to be kind, harmonious, respect and truthful. I think the camp was quite amazing today and I wish
it can continue again!


On the 26-27th of June, BaoLin Chan Monastery organized a camp for the children. It ran for two successful days, and all the children enjoyed it.

In the children’s camp, there were four different teams called Respect, Harmony, Kind and True. Each team had a team song to learn, so they can perform it in the open ceremony.

The teams had to win in the activities and games to earn points for their team, at the end, team True won.

There were many activities and games in the camp, the most interesting game was the obstacle game. The teams had to rescue their prince or princess from their had deeds.

First, the children had to crawl under the string,then they had to step into the boxes. After stepping through the boxes, they had to go over three other large boxes. Next, the children

Needed to use a stick and go around it five times, then they had to undo a ribbon from the prince or princess that says a bad deed that they’ve done. Last but not least, the children had to go back and the next team member goes.When it was story time, everyone was eager to listen to Big Shifu tell a story. In the two days, Big Shifu told us two stories. One was about the boy who was always angry, and the other one was about how to protect our Earth. Both Stories had a very important moral in it. The moral in the first story was that the bad deeds you do to other people, it will always remain there.the moral in the second was that you should be kind to everyone including our Earth.

I thought that the camp was very interesting and creative.The background music and decorations made the children feel very relaxed and comfortable. I’ve learnt a lot at the camp like being kind to anyone, how to work as a team and whatever bad deed you do to others, it will always remain there forever. I believe that Bao Lin Chan Monastery should organize another camp and invite more children to learn and play at children’s

Zhan Hui
The meditation was good. All the games were fun and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the games that we played. Thank you to all the Shi fu’s, Coordinators and helpers.

Reflections by the parents

Yi Ting’s reflections

I’m grateful to all the Shifus for holding the Children’s camp. During the camp, all the Shifus were very dedicated and worked really hard.I realized to organize a children’s camp needs enormous amount of thought, effort and energy. The children’s camp had incredible benefits to them both physically and spiritually. In the relaxed environment, the children learnt to make friends and be kind. To the parents, this is a very good opportunity for the children to develop kindness and compassion.

With appreciation YiTing

HwaPin’s Reflection (Chloe’s mum)

Those children have learnt how to help each other in the group and listen to everyone’s opinion during this children’s camp. It also helps Chloe to understood the importance of harmony by interacting with group members as well as respecting individuals’ difference.

I also want to thank the Abbess and all shifus and all the volunteers’ who help the camp with their all might.

Robyn’s Reflection (Maddie’s Mum)
Maddie loved the Kid’s Camps, she was still singing the respect song 2 weeks after the camp.I loved the Mother earth song, as well as the dancing. I think that it’s great the university students get so involved. There was a great variety of activities. The kids were all very happy. Thank you.

Reflections by the volunteers

Bao Lin Chan held its annual Children’s Camp on the 26th and 27th of June. In all, around 30 children descended on the monastery for two days of games, talks and Buddhist teaching. The children were split up into four teams – respect, kind, harmony and truth – representing the four tenets of Chung Tai.

To our elders be respectful.
To our juniors be kind.
With all humanity be harmonious.
In all endeavours be true.

For my previous bad karma, I found myself as a group leader for the Respect team. I was slightly daunted by the task. Kids can have an awful lot of energy; they seem to enjoy running around endlessly, while I prefer quieter pursuits like sitting down and relaxing. But when a Shifu asks you to help out it is hard to say no.

The first activity of the camp was to teach our team members the Respect team song. Each team had their own unique song based on their name, and the teams would sing these after they participated in games or at other times throughout the camp. We practiced and practiced and practiced our song until the whole group knew it. Finally, just as my vocal chords were starting to wear out, the teams were all ushered into the Zen Hall for the official opening ceremony. All the groups stood in the Zen hall, as heroic music blasted through the speakers, waiting for the Abbess to arrive. Soon the Abbess entered to loud applause. It was quite a scene, the heroic music and the enthusiasm of the crowd worked to create this feeling that this was a very special occasion.

There was so much that happened on the camp – meditation, supply games (where the children raided the office of paper), singing, crane making, martial arts and hostage rescue games that it is hard to go through everything that happened. But I will share two things that have stuck in my mind.

The first was watching the children participate in the stories and discussion with the Abbes. I remember from Adult meditation classes that the Abbes would often pose questions to the audience listening to her talk. These questions would seldom be greeted by more than a quite response and often silence. It could not be more different when the children are in the hall. A great energy and enthusiasm is one way to describe it. The Kids would stretch their arms skyward eager to answer any question posed. And the creativity of the children was often surprising. Asked to come up with a title for a story about a boy who was had problems controlling his anger, it took at least 5 minutes to exhaust all the possible titles.

The second memorable event involved another story that the Abbess told, the pigeon story. This story is about a boy named Hans who attacks some pigeons. Hans soon learns he has done the wrong thing, however, as that night he has a horrible nightmare where the pigeons get there revenge. After the story, a game was played based on the events. The children were told that they were little pigeons and they had to stand behind their big pigeon (group leader), and run away from Hans who was trying to catch them. Unfortunately, in the game the man playing Hans was not fast enough to catch many of the little pigeons. Much to everyone’s surprise the Abbess jumped up and began chasing after the little pigeons too! You could tell be the screams of the children that they were having a good time.

In all, it was a memorable camp and I am sure that many of the children not only enjoyed themselves, but also learnt some valuable Buddhist teachings.

I don’t think there’s anything negative to say about the children’s camp. I thought it was a great idea with a good balance of fun and obedience. I was in Team Harmony and I thought the team leader Tom was very organized and friendly, we were also good with all the children. All the children seemed like they had lot of fun and I think they especially liked the obstacle course game. I also thought all the children were very smart and even very young ones answered questions the Abbess asked during the story. Every teams songs was also very catchy and even though some of the children couldn’t read, they still learnt it well. I think everything was a success and the Monastery was also decorated very nicely. I had heaps of fun and I’m quite sure everyone else did.

Chuan Yan (the Fairy Lady)
The decoration within the monastery was warm, festival and welcoming. The program was well planned and the variety of activities are creative and interactive. The activities designed for the 2 days were educational and meaningful, they have provided the children with opportunity to learn from play in positive attitude. The activities also promote parent/children interaction and collaboration between team members. All coordinators have done good job especially in training and motivated their group for their slogans within a short time frame.

The use of Rhymes for slogans has allowed children to establish the concepts the 4 tenets. The hard work from volunteers should have been paid by the successful completed of the event. General consensus from children and adult were positive. The encouragement, cheering and assistance from the facilitated Shifus made a big difference to the performance of the children. The Shifus supports help children to become more confident towards their achievements. With the guidance, support and leading from our Abbess made the 2010 Children Camp attained a big success. The support, guidance and leading from our Abbess have made the 2010 Children Camp attained big success. It was an honor to be part of the working team and it was rewarding when seeing participants are happy and enjoy the event.

Full camp report – by Michelle Tang

26/06/10 – 27/06/10

Amitofo, as always, when Bao Lin organise activities… please bear in mind expect the unexpected challenge. First of all, getting the children to come to the camp was the main thing. Never in my mind did I think that such a camp needed so many days to prepare and organise. Planning of the food and drink menu. We only have a week to preparing songs that rhyme and with meaning and then abbess and all sifu practicing singing them out loud. The creation of many pieces of artwork for not only the reception area but also to the dining room, the meditation hall too is the work of “Mei Gong Shi”. Folding big paper crane and cutting up stars, butterflies, dragonflies and doves is the major highlight of the camp. We needed a lot of balloons, so pumping the air into it is like meditating (awareness)as to not let it burst. As Shifu has a phobia of the balloon bursting sound. Though she acted really cool and walked away. Hanging it up in the dining hall is a manspower job. We also prepared many gifts for the children’s individual performance and the list goes on and on, come to the end, NO REST for all the SHI-FUS’.

The children camp’s flag that was presented to me (representing all the children) by the Abbess. To me, it really made me feel like the mini Olympics and all the fun and games are about to start. I am given a position as the ‘Chief of Discipline’, which I think is most unfair since I believed I am the most un-disciplined person of all. I also liked the Fairy Lady (Helen) as she’s the most outstanding and gem of the whole camp. A little girl (Kelly) liked her (Fairy Lady) very much because she says that the Fairy can grant you a wish.

The group co-ordinators did their very best to get the children to connect with each other by teaching them to sing their group song (which the children is divided into four groups- Peace, Kind, Harmony and True . As everyone was quite shy at the start even the blanket game did not break the ice not to many. The group songs were so catchy but some of the kids (younger ones) did not quite get it so Abbess and all Shifu have to go around to check and sing along with them. That’s why we ended up singing it the whole time even in our sleep, the music kept playing in the mind. I also liked the meal offering song (so upbeat) for the children, which are very useful for today’s children. During the games, not only do the children go wild, trying to beat each other to become the winners to save their own princess. In one part of the game the children were ask to take off their left sock which some ended both their socks on the table or took off the sock from the wrong foot and ummm.. smelly socks ‘poooh’. The teamwork is easily seen within each group. All the shifus are also very happy too. The children also wrote their reflections on a bodhi leaf as to what they had learnt on the day.

On the second day, my happiest time was when Abbess started telling a story about Little Han and the pigeon and the fact that we had an elderly ‘little Han’ feeding the pigeons. He looks so funny. The game we played with Han trying to catch and kick the pigeons because he’s bored. He was unable to run as fast as the pigeons (children) and he did not catch many pigeons (children) this is where the Abbess came in (Han’s afraid of falling) and helped him out by catching a lot of the little pigeons (children). The children were all screaming with wild joy and running away with so much laughter in the air as the big pigeons (co-ordinators) trying to fight off little ‘slow’ Han and ‘very fast’ Abbess. The story line is to teach the children of all ages to be kind to animals and all sentient beings that are weaker and smaller than us humans.

In order to calm down the children after the game, we had a session of folding paper cranes. This was where my fingers and brain do not co-ordinate at all. I even had to ask for help to complete my paper crane from anyone as I am not good with my fingers. One of the children (Maddie) commented as not only as they themselves couldn’t fold it, “Aunty Michelle needed help too”. All I said is please help me. Mmm… please… help!!! The paper crane then was put on the branches of the bodhi tree on the nest as a gesture to free all birds. Shifu’s also teaches the children to plant some plants in the pots as to help ‘Mother Earth’ ( is very sick ) as plants gives oxygen to all living being to breath in and create a greener enviorment. Lisa (Chuan Gong) became our BAO LIN Earth Mama… ummm… ok.

We came back to the meditation hall where the children have about + – 10 minutes meditation break, where this very little girl (Raina) could not sit still. I made her close her eyes and try to breath in, breath out more than a couple of times… guess what… yes she fell asleep. David one of our co-ordinaters were smiling, shaking his head unbelieable quietly at Raina as we have to be quiet.

Cutting the long story short, time for individual performance presentation means present from Abbess and group photo… also with each group cheering their slogan and songs.

We ended the camp with a farewell song from the Sound of Music and where we made a bridge for the children to go under it. The kids and adults go round and round it again and again. It was the most satisfying and happy ending with all the effort everyone had put in and things had finally come to an end. Thank goodness. It let us as volunteers feel very satisfied in which words cannot explain. It’s the packing up and cleaning time. HaHaHa its the not end yet for us… Well as least we can sleep soundly after this camp. Now I can say I have learnt something from BAO LIN never be afraid of the challenge that comes you way even dress up as Fairy Lady… a big hand for everyone who participate especially Abbess and all Shifus’ coming out with great ideas. Thank you to all co-ordinaters with their patience for teaching and looking after the children, volunteers to make this a beautiful and successful event in BAO LIN CHILDREN CAMP 2010 a history.


Chuan Yue / Michelle Tang

2010 Chung Tai Chan Monastery Retreat Reflection

Angela Teh

It was my first time participating the Retreat at Chung Tai Chan Monastery. There were more than 900 of us attending this Retreat. It was an unbelievable blessing to do this meditation retreat with so many respected cultivators from all over the world. To see rows and rows of meditators sitting quietly in perfect harmony and in perfect silence is mind-blowing. The atmosphere was so tranquil and so pure. The most admirable thing is that we have the Grand Master and the Abbot of Chung Tai giving excellent Dharma talks on topics of impermanence, mindfulness, detachment and enlightenment. The experience is worth all the treasures in the world.

The 7-Day (Zen) Meditation Retreat was scheduled to start on the 15th of February 2010 which happened to fall on the second day of the Chinese New Year. We set out early in the morning and managed to arrive at Chung Tai Monastery just in time for the registration. There were seven of us, three from Philippine, one from Hong Kong, two local Taiwanese (driver and the navigator) and the last one from Australia – me. The timetable for the day was the same except the first and last day where there are the Initiation and Closing ceremony respectively. We need to wear our black robes at all meditation times, Dharma talks and meal times.

We were very quickly rushed into our quarters and had to change immediately to get ready for the “Initiation” ceremony. I looked for my seat and sat quietly with abated breath. We were given instructions, to keep the golden silence rule at all times during the retreat, questions and messages can be in written form to one of the shifus who will be attending to the area you are sitting.

During the Initiation, strict instructions are also given on how to conduct at meal times. There is a specific way on how and where to place your bowl, plate and other utensils and remember, you cannot ask, if you are not sure, you just have to observe your neighbors and follow swiftly and quietly. Everyone is supposed to leave together, but you still can stay and finish your meal even after conclusion of the meal.

The clapping of awaking board sounded at 4:30 in the morning and we needed to be at the Meditation Hall by 5:00. The day’s schedule was full until 10:00 PM. Even though I do not read nor write any Chinese characters but fortunately, there was one shifu always close at hand to help. She would make sure that we had our translator machines whenever there was a Dharma talk; if we were sick there were medications available or a doctor if we so needed one.

It is an enormous task to organise such a big throng. To ensure that everything goes smoothly like clockwork, we need to adhere to the strict instructions. Moreover, all these little details help to deepen the mindfulness which we hope to achieve.

With the Grand Master’s and the Abbot’s teachings and together with one’s mindfulness, concentration and sincerity, one may be able to attain Sudden Enlightenment or achieve Samadhi (in Sanskrit term which means deep concentration). It is achievable, it is possible to attain this if you are really, really mindful and have the utmost sincerity at heart. The Grand Master’s teaching of Chan is the tool to guide you through. It is worth every breath you take, every step you make, every sacrifice you do. The impact is beyond any words of expression. It is no wonder that, at the end of the Retreat, everyone goes home with so much of bliss, so much of gratitude and with a deep sense of wanting to remain or to come back. You may have found the path to enlightenment. It is, still, only the beginning of the Path.